Integrity. That is an important word, and an important characteristic for all people. We have heard so much about media personalities, sports figures, and politicians whose lives have displayed its very opposite. This strikes at the heart of the trust we thought we had in these people. These are spectacular cases in the news, but also reminders of the necessity of integrity in our own lives. Whether in marriage, friendship, or public dealings, people want to believe that we are what we say we are. Any relationship is built on trust. If that trust is harmed, it takes a long time to be rebuilt, if it ever can be, and the relationship is damaged. Solomon wrote, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9) It is true that there is still unfairness and injustice against the most upright of people, but we set the course of our lives with David who said, “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.”(Psalm 25:21)
Is there a difference between one’s private and public life? Maybe the question is, should there be? or even, does it matter? Scripture teaches us that the convictions and commitments of our hearts should show in all that we are and do. This points to a very important verse from St. Paul, “Whatever you do whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”(Colossians 3:17) There is nothing here about living two different lives. Whatever we do, whether private or public, comes from what is at the center of our life, and that does make a difference. Of course we sin, and there is forgiveness and restoration, but we live by one standard and not two. This is important for all of us, but I also think it is important in this season of examining candidates for public office. For too long we have tried to excuse bad personal behavior or attitudes, saying that it doesn’t affect the work they do in office. We are one person. Who we are inside makes all the difference in who we are outside. Our Lord continues to work in the deepest parts of our life.